Attracting new people to Thoroughbred breeding and promoting Indiana's incentive programs is the goal of a new organization called the Indiana Breeders Alliance.
"Indiana has had a lot of growing pains, and it is going to take more effort than from just one or two organizations to keep it growing," said Robin Berryhill, the IBA's recently elected president and a founding member. "We want to mentor people who want to get into breeding and explain the benefits of raising Indiana-bred and Indiana-sire horses."
The concept took root quickly and in only a few months the membership roster grew to include established breeders throughout Indiana, stallion farms in Ohio and Kentucky, racehorse owners, and racing fans.
"We want to create as many safety nets as possible to catch people interested in our sport to make sure no one falls through them all," said Berryhill, a former trainer who now owns Hidden Springs Farm near Palmyra, Ind. "It has been exciting to see so many people working together."
Providing education and networking opportunities is a key mission of the alliance and the impetus behind a Nov. 19 exposition being held at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino near Shelbyville. A main feature of the event will be booths set up by regional stud farms, where new breeders can get questions answered and established breeders can fill out breeding contracts. Some stallion owners will be offering special deals that will be available only at the exposition. The farms that have committed to be there include Breakaway Farm, Hidden Springs, Holden Farm, Indiana Stallion Station, Nicks Farm, Paradise Farm, and Swifty Farm. Kentucky breeders will be represented by Ashford Stud, Calumet, Spendthrift Farm, and Three Chimneys Farm, so far.
The free event also will provide hourly seminars. Tony Ottaiano, with The Jockey Club Information System's Equineline, will talk about what makes a good pedigree page, while Dr. Nathaniel Newton of Park Equine Hospital will discuss how to manage a mare to get her in foal on the first cover. A representative of Calumet will talk about nicking and a representative of Spendthrift Farm will focus on breeding shed etiquette.
"The idea was to put it all in one place for breeders, whether they are new or have been in the business for a long time," Berryhill said. "We want attendees to feel the whole breeding process has been covered from beginning to end."
Limited booth space is still available for $45. The exposition begins at noon, with the first seminar to be held at 1 p.m. The event will conclude with a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m., which is free to IBA members and $20 for non-members. For more information call (502) 873-8757.